5 Best Milk Frothers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We tested countertop and handheld models to find the best milk frothers.

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December 13, 2021
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Our Top Milk Frother Picks

Tested by Regina Ragone for Food Network Kitchen

There are so many ways to create your favorite coffeehouse drink just using a milk frother. Imagine not having to wait in line to get your creamy latte or frothy cappuccino because you can make it yourself. In order to figure out what the best milk frother is for you, the first thing is to decide what type of drink you will be using your foam in. Then, you’ll need to think about whether you like your drink iced or hot. Finally, different types of milks perform differently in each kind of milk frother, so if you opt for non-dairy milk or skim, that’s another thing to consider. We tested top-rated milk frothers on the market to find the best milk frothers for coffee drinks, hot chocolate and more.

Photo by: Regina Ragone

Regina Ragone

What To Know About Milk Frothers

Frothers come in two basic models: countertop and handheld. For frothers unattached to an espresso machine, you can find electric or battery-operated countertop and handheld models. Countertop models can heat the milk as you froth, however, handheld models can only foam milk after you’ve warmed it in the microwave, for example. The best way to create the same type of foam you get at a coffee bar is a countertop frother, but we’ve shared our favorite hand-held model if you decide to go that route.

The best milk frother for you depends on what you want to drink. Scientific explanations aside, think of foam like shave cream and froth like a Mr. Bubbles bubble bath. If you love cappuccinos, you’ll need a machine that yields one-part airy foam on top of one part steamed milk. For a latte you’ll need a silky, looser foam that is more pourable and mixes more easily with the espresso.

Not all milk is created equal. Whole dairy milk tends to perform the best with most milk frothers because of the higher fat content. However, many of our top picks can also froth reduced fat milk well. In terms of non-dairy milk, oat tends to perform best in countertop frothers; while almond milk can be a bit too watery to foam up well. We used almond milk as our non-dairy milk test to really find the top-performing milk frothers.

Photo by: Regina Ragone

Regina Ragone

Foam can be hot or cold. If you swear by iced lattes, you’ll want a frother than can make hot or cold foam. Most handheld frother sticks are ideal for a quick cold foam.

What about hot chocolate? You can use a milk frother for more than just coffee. Larger countertop models can make creamy hot cocoa, silky matcha (although this method is completely untraditional), and even steamers (steamed milk with flavor).

Photo by: Regina Ragone

Regina Ragone

How We Tested

We filled our refrigerators with lots of whole, low-fat and almond milk to test 12 milk frothers (6 countertop and 6 handheld) to get to our top five. Each frother was tested with 1/2 cup whole, low- fat and almond milk on both hot and cold settings. When testing the hot setting we noted how hot the milk got and how long it took to get there. We also took note of how much foam was made and how well that foam held up. We also looked at how easy they were to operate and clean.

These are the best milk frothers we tested.

$49.95

If you want the ability to make all kinds of foam plus steamed milk, the Instant Milk Frother is a good fit. This compact machine, from the company that brought us the Instapot, has a 4-in-1 program for cold foam, light warm foam, thick warm foam, and warming without foaming. The first setting creates a silky microfoam (lots of tiny bubbles), perfect for your iced cappuccino or as topping for a cold brew. The next two settings are a warm foam for a café au lait or latte and a warm, thick foam to crown your cappuccino. The fourth setting is just for warm, no foam, steamed milk that can be used as is, or for hot chocolate. We didn’t find the last setting warm enough to make a perfect hot chocolate without slipping it into the microwave to heat for another 30 seconds. All of the settings worked equally well with dairy and almond milk. We loved the spout because it made pouring easy, but you could also use it to create latte art to impress your guests.

Buy It

If getting the best of whatever you purchase is how you shop, then Breville Milk Cafe is a no-brainer. This frother towers above the others in looks and capacity. An induction heating system allows it to reach temperature rapidly, efficiently, and consistently every time. There is a variable temperature dial and "cold stir" setting. The latte frothing disk creates a smooth and silky milk froth while the cappuccino disk makes a thick and creamy froth. You can make hot chocolate for several people at a time by simply adding chocolate powder to the warming milk. The stainless-steel jug can also be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. This machine will give you everything you want but costs more than any of the others tested.

Buy It
$35

Although you can’t compare it to a countertop model, except in price, the Rosle Stainless Steel Dual Speed Frother is the next best thing. It has two handy speeds: fast for frothing milk, and slow for emulsifying vinaigrettes (which is fantastic for those of us who make our own dressing!). If you want your froth hot you’ll need to heat your dairy or almond milk first. Whole milk, either hot or cold, whipped up a thick foam to 3 or 4 times its original volume in under two minutes. Almond milk on the other hand just whipped into a froth, but its bubbles maintained shape for quite a few minutes. This light but sturdy frother costs as much as some countertop models so one of the benefits is that you can store it in a drawer.

Buy It

If you want your foam fast and with no fuss, the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 is a good bet. Push the button once for hot milk or froth and hold for three seconds for cold. It even lights up red vs. blue so you know which type you are making. This sleek machine is so quiet no one will hear you making them a delicious cappuccino in under two minutes. We like that the machine shuts off automatically when done. The type of foam created is more frothy than creamy, and almond milk did not foam as well as dairy milk. The Aeroccino only makes four ounces of foam at a time but it will make up to eight ounces of hot milk.

Buy It
$59.99

The Capresso Froth Max Milk Frother is so easy to use, we just left it on the counter all week during testing and used the frothing disk to swirl creamy foam for our coffee and the alternate heating disk to make hot milk for cocoa. A 12 oz. plastic milk pitcher sits on top of the electric base which allows you to view the process of frothing or heating cold, warm, or hot dairy or almond milk. You can only use up to eight ounces of liquid when you want to froth milk (because it expands) but up to 12 for heating it. The foaming took a few minutes to get to the hot stage, but the result was always worth it. We loved the fact you could store the disks magnetically on the underside of the base since they can be easy to misplace. The plastic pitcher is also dishwasher-safe.

Buy It

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